Last friday I went to the Karaoke with some friends. The machine at the room we were in was pretty unresponsible: you had to try a few times for it to accept your songs, and it wouldn’t show a list of upcoming music, but other than that it was quite fun.
After the Karaoke, I started to think about how these machines at the karaoke boxes haven’t changed much in the last few years. As far as I can tell, aside from a growing collection of songs, the machines are about the same as they were when I first arrived in Japan, back in 2003. For a country that is so fascinated with new technologies, this is kinda surprising.
One thing that I think would improve the karaoke experience significantly, and does not seem that complicated, is the “web-2.0-fication” of the song database. This means: let the customers assign tags to song, and look for those tags. Right now, if you want to sing a song in a karoke, you have to search either by song title, or by artist name. Sometimes the karaokes have “collection books” (foreign songs, anime songs, etc), but it would be really cool if it was possible to “tag” songs, and then search the songs by tags from other users. This would allow people to tag songs by release time (80ies, 90ies), by style, by theme, by country, etc. Another idea is the ability to do a textual search for the lyrics of the song.
On a similar vein, I was wondering why don’t the DS line of handhelds (DSi, 3DS, etc) does not offer the ability to save screenshots of the game you are currently playing. Since the DSi already allows you to take pictures and upload them to facebook, it seems that this would be a natural extension.